Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Torchinsky It Is

Even if we never get enough regatta-type regattas there's a yen for that different thing, and the Laser Slalom fits that need but good. Newly-crowned North American Laser champion Dave Wright went undefeated through the eliminations ladder to an all-Canadian final three and then to the final round and—

That's where Abe Torchinsky came in.

Torchinsky had lost to Wright in their first meeting in this double-elimination round, but he then went on to eliminate Anthony Boueilh and set up a final shot at Wright, who needed just one more win to take the title. Torchinsky needed two wins. Maybe not the house bet, but a good bet. He did what he had to do.

Both skippers nailed their gybes in a 20-knot seabreeze and the crowd hooted from the deck of the St. Francis Yacht Club—noise from the beach is what really drives this thing—and Chris "Boomer" Boome, winner back in the day of the second-ever Slalom, said, "What hasn't changed in twenty-five years is the crowd."

All, especially new Slalom champ Abe Torchinsky, agreed that we have to do this thing again the next time we have a fleet at the ready on San Francisco Bay. Abe was feeling pretty good as he put the boat away . . .

A quick scan of Abe's blog at (pretty good read; I'll be back) is all it takes to make the unsurprising discovery that these top guys have sailed together all over the world, traveled together, trained together. Become friends. They just don't like to lose to each other is all. Thorchinsky is from Vancouver. Wright lives in Toronto. Boueilh is Québécois .

I note that Vancouver, B.C. is well into bear country, which adds a dimension to Abe's account of a long night looking for a place to get comfortable in the very dark, uncomfortable ferry port of Piraeus, Greece:

"I heard barking and realized that I’d just about stepped on two sleeping black dogs. I turned quickly to retrace my steps but the dogs were quicker and started to chase me. Remembering the lessons taught for bear encounters I dropped my bag and continued my retreat. The dogs stopped to investigate. I was alright, but any attempt to retrieve my bag was ended by the dogs’ protesting barks."

The story ends happily, however, one long night and one ferry ride and one car rental later on the island of Paros where Abe arrives at his goal and encounters, "A young tanned muscled fellow who could only be a windsurfer. I introduced myself and explained my presence. Immediately I was welcomed and no time was wasted grabbing boards and heading to the beach."

These guys are windsurfing fools, by the way. Four days of racing the Laser North Americans on top of training and prep followed by three days of Laser Slalom were not enough to keep them on the beach when they left the Laser. I don't know anything about sailing in Toronto, but I do know that few places have a seabreeze to match the wind that flows through the Golden Gate, and I know that Dave Wright was out there a lot on his board and was heard to say, "I can't believe it blows like this, every day.

It doesn't, but isn't it pretty to think so.

Now. Which of these men is not Lazarus?
bye byeee—Kimball